China’s most famous vlogger Li Ziqi is known for teaching people about her idyllic rural life in the Sichuan countryside — but should she be a part of the curriculum?
According to news outlet Qianjian Evening News, the lifestyle vlogger was listed as a notable figure in a recent reading comprehension exam for primary school students, stirring controversy among parents who questioned her suitability. Specifically, the students were asked to choose between Li Ziqi, renowned agronomist and “Father of Hybrid Rice” Yuan Longping, and deliveryman and poetry competition winner Lei Haiwei and explain their choice in a short essay. The question prompt included Li’s Weibo and YouTube follower counts in its descriptor.
Li Ziqi’s videos often feature her cooking meals in natural settings and making furniture from bamboo that she cuts herself. The escapist short films usually lack dialogue and are accompanied by soft piano music and nature sounds. Li’s 11.2 million YouTube subscribers often comment comparing her videos to “a real life Ghibli anime” and noting the footage brings them peace.
Despite Li’s wholesome content, many parents in the eastern city of Ningbo were upset about her inclusion on the exam. Their dissatisfaction centered on what values an internet celebrity is supposed to represent. They reportedly raised questions about Li’s content, the impact of influencer marketing on children’s values, and why Li specifically was chosen for the question.
Some netizens, however, have defended Li’s inclusion. Some noted that her video content carries positive messages and good values. Others note that internet celebrity is an important 21st century career which takes an admirable skillset to be successful in.
Director of the regional education department Zhu Zifan said that Li’s inclusion on the exam was an attempt to better prepare students for college entrance exams, which often contain questions on a variety of contemporary social topics.
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